Monday, January 23, 2017

Travel Tips

When I was dating my now husband, I flew....a lot. Why? My husband was active duty at the time. I was flying about every other month. Over that time I have learned a thing or two that can be helpful for most. Here are a few tips for traveling that can help anyone traveling.

Clothes
How many days will you be gone will depend on how much you pack. One rule of thumb is to pack half the number of shirts and pants for the number of days you will be gone. Of course the exception to that is underwear. One per day for that. Example you will be gone 8 days, then pack 4 shirts, 4 pants and 8 pairs of underwear. If you will be gone for a few weeks, then pack 7 of each.  Many hotels, particularly on a military base, have a wash room for visitors. Also most gas stations have travel sized laundry detergent packs. If you have a special event such as a wedding, then do not include that outfit in your number of shirts and pants or skirts.
When putting them in your baggage, remember, tuck and roll. I like to fold all my clothes in half, tuck in sleeves, then roll them up like a Twinkie. This saves a ton of space in your bags.

Gifts and Souvenirs

If you plan on buying a few souvenirs, I suggest packing an empty back pack or duffel bag. You can simply use that as a carry on or personal bag when you go home. Also you have less of a chance the baggage workers breaking any thing fragile.

If you know you will be giving and receiving gifts that will be in large enough quantity to have their own checked bag, ship them to your destination. Even most hotels will hold packages at the desk for you as long as you notify them that they are being sent.

Devices and Chargers

For the travel day, make sure you charge all the devices you are planning to use while en route the night before you leave. If you are going on a long flight that will be more than four hours, you may want to bring at least one fully charged back up battery or power bank.

When packing tablets and laptops, make sure you do one of two things. Either put the device in a pocket you can access quickly, or use a carry on bag that has a pocket that folds flat when unzipped like the one in the permalink. Many of those bags will have some sort of "checkpoint friendly" label on the pocket. Remember, do not put any chargers in the same pocket as the laptop or tablet. Your bag will be pulled aside. You will have to rearrange it, and it will be rescanned.

As for other items, if you can live without the item or simply do not need it during that time, then do not pack it.

Children

Although I do not have any I have traveled with them. I do know babies and children can be unpredictable, but maybe some of what I have done and seen other parents do will help.

 For babies and toddlers, if they are beginning to eat at regular meal times or you have an idea what time they will be hungry try to get a flight that is scheduled to take off at that time. Eating and drinking will help to alleviate ear pressure naturally when they swallow. Also Transportation Security Administration now allows formula to go through as long as you notify the officers and if it can be screened separately from the bag, so only put it into a plastic bottle. 

Bring their favorite toy or two. These can be very comforting in a time where it is loud for little ears.

 Distractions work wonders. I encourage bringing travel board games, cards and electronic devices for the kids too. Especially ones loaded with tv episodes or movies for long flights.

Use Smart Phone Apps for airlines and airports

Most if not all airlines now have apps where you can do everything. If you have a smart phone use them. You can check in, get your ticket and have the bar code scanned at the gate all from the phone. that will male one less thing to worry about losing. You can also check your flight status

Many airports also have apps. These will have flight status as well, but many of them also have GPS location services inside the airport. This is extremely helpful if you get lost trying to find your gate or just need a bite to eat and want to see what they have to offer. For instance Orlando International Airport has a Chili's, while Charlotte International Airport has a neat little fudge shop(best place ever).

 check in

For all airlines you can check in up to 24 hours before your flight whether online, on that airline app, or over the phone. You will want to do that to have one less thing to do at the airport. If you have checked bags you still will want to check in ahead of time. Doing so will expedite the process for everyone. Also remember that extra back pack you put in your checked bag for souvenirs? If your bag is overweight you can now use that to take some pounds out and not have to pay extra fees.

Read your ticket

 For either electronic or printed ticket make sure you know what terminal you need to be in. The last thing you want is to be on the wrong side of the airport when the plane starts boarding.